Vic Vogel dies at 84

The big name of the Montreal jazz scene Vic Vogel played his last note. The man who learned to play piano at the age of five to become one of Canada’s greatest jazz legends passed away on Monday at the age of 84.
Vic Vogel “died on Monday morning September 16, 2019 at 9:35 am in his home in Montreal alongside his mistress, his piano Steinway on which he played since the age of 16,” reads on his Facebook page.

His friend Eric Ayotte wrote that “the Copper Man died out after a long battle with the disease”.

“Montreal is losing a legend, the world of music, an undisputed master, and me, a friend,” writes Mr. Ayotte.

During his long career, Vic Vogel shared the stage with several big names in music, including Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Mel Torme and Slide Hampton. He also accompanied Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Eartha Kitt, Andy Williams, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Michel Legrand, Ann-Margaret, Shirley MacLaine and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

A colorful conductor, he was also active in pop and occasionally classical music. Composing, writing and directing the official music of the Olympic Games in his hometown of Montreal in 1976 remains one of the highlights of his life, he said. He knew how to mix classical music, jazz and native rhythms.

The illness prevented him from participating in his “Farewell Concert” at the Montreal International Jazz Festival (IJFM) on June 30, 2015. He had received the Miles-Davis “out of series” award the night before. of the FIJM, highlighting all of his work. Only Dave Brubeck had earned this tribute in 2010, two years before his death.

An autodidact

Born August 3, 1935 of Hungarian parents who had settled in Montreal, Victor Stefan Vogel became interested in music after watching his brother play it. From the age of 14, and after learning self-taught trombone, tuba and vibraphone, he performed on television, on CBC, and in nightclubs.

At the age of 19, he wanted to deepen his theoretical knowledge of music and turned to Oscar Peterson’s teacher. Due to his health problems, he referred him instead to his colleague Michel Hirvy.

After playing in several orchestras, Vic Vogel directed his first group in a Montreal cabaret in 1960, then toured with the Double Six in Paris and the CBC band; he founded the Big Jazz Band in 1967.

Vogel quickly became a staple of the FIJM: he gave the closing performance of the very first edition in 1980 and, six years later, he accompanied trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie. In all, he will mount more than 30 times on the stages of the festival. In 1992, he received the Oscar-Peterson Award presented by the FIJM to an artist who had contributed to the rise of Canadian jazz.

Pop music

The musician has always remained faithful to the Quebec music scene and has greatly contributed to maintaining the popularity of jazz in Quebec. In the company of his Big Jazz Band, he participated in Offenbach band tour, then in his famous album Offenbach in fusion, winner of Félix for best rock album in 1980 and remained a classic of Quebec music.

Vic Vogel has many gold and platinum certified albums and has been nominated for several Juno and Félix awards. He released his first solo album in 1993. He also recorded albums with Johanne Blouin and Martin Deschamps. He also wrote, arranged and directed the music for the Expo 67 and Canada Games ceremonies in 1985.

In September 2013, he became the first winner of an award bearing his name, the Vic-Vogel Award, presented by the Rimouski International Festi Jazz.

But when the extent of his accomplishments was pointed out to him, Vogel remained humble. “I’m a great cook, do you understand? I make the musical meal, “he said simply to describe himself in an interview broadcast at RDI in the fall of 2013.

Bassist Michel Donato, who visited him a few weeks ago, says that Vic Vogel “opened his ears and gave him a hand.” The 77-year-old musician believes that Vic Vogel leaves a great legacy for Montreal’s young musicians. “Until the end, there were plenty of kids going to his house on Mondays to practice in the big band. ”

Alain Simard, co-founder of the FIJM, does not hesitate to describe this ensemble as an “institution”. “All the great wind musicians were part of his group. There are now thousands of musicians who are somewhat dependent on Vic Vogel’s pioneering work. “

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